The human remains of 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard were found last month. Now, a suspect has been charged and prosecutors are looking to impose the harshest punishment in the state of Alabama.
The Associated Press reported prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against 29-year-old Ibraheem Yazeed who has been with capital murder in the death of the stepdaughter of UFC fighter, authorities Walt Harris.
Blanchard’s mother and stepfather have not spoken out since Yazeed was arrested. However, her father, Elijah Blanchard, told the Montgomery Advertiser, “It’s heart-wrenching because Aniah is such a people person. For someone to try to take advantage of that, someone who was probably just trying to be nice and try to go home, it’s heart-wrenching.”
Blanchard was reportedly shot and her remains were found in a wooded area in Macon County, Alabama.
Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes said at a news conference that the capital murder charge is being filed against the 29-year-old Yazeed.
Police had been searching for Aniah since she disappeared on Oct. 23. She was reportedly abducted at a Chevron gas station on South College Street in Auburn, Alabama. Just days after the Southern Union State Community College student went missing, cops discovered her car – which was covered in blood, at an apartment complex in Montgomery. Police also determined that Blanchard had been harmed and was “considered to be a victim of foul play.”
Yazeed was seen in surveillance footage at the gas station with Aniah prior to her disappearance. Yazeed has a lengthy police record, was arrested on Nov. 7 while on bond for attempted murder, first-degree kidnapping, and first-degree robbery in an unrelated case.
Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes slammed Montgomery County for allowing him to be released on bond, according to the Advertiser, “Montgomery County has had their opportunity to deal with the defendant and that has resulted in him being free to come to Lee County and commit yet another violent criminal offense. The State believes he wants to get back to Montgomery because that is where he has friends and where he has been allowed to evade prosecution.”
Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by this tragedy.